Cello, a kind of yoga?
.I. Connecting your body and your mind.
Yoga is a way to restraint of the agitation of thoughts.
Go back to the basics...
- YOUR POSTURE
Here is an example of check list:
- Feel connected to the floor. Observe: is your weight more on your heel? toes? Balanced? More on the outside part of your feet? inside part? Once you find your balance, take 10 seconds, breathe and keep going...
-How is your overall balance now? Are you seating on your sitting bones? Is your upper body/spine centered or are you more toward one side in particular? Find your balance, breathe, and keep scanning…
How is the camber of your lower back? Use your abs to keep your stomach in ;), many times when we correct our lower back posture it also influence the upper part and neck, breathe and let’s go on…
What about your shoulders? Scan each shoulder and see where your body leads you. If you already started working on the posture of your shoulder blades make sure they are supported by your back muscles. Breathe...
NECK & HEAD
Once you finished the scan you will notice that you feel a lot more aware of your body, your respiration is calm and you feel ready to have a good practice time!
Now that your mind and your body are connected, it is time to connect with your instrument...
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.II. CONNECT WITH YOUR CELLO
Your cello is not a marionette
You are not a ventriloquist...
The sound of the cello is Your voice...
The ideal position is when you feel free to move, your cello is stable, and you feel very connected with the floor through your feet.
Depending on your preference, body type, cello, it can be through your feet (my favourite) or through the back of your chair and your feet (the second option is not recommended if you are not tall and if you don’t like to play with a long endpin).
III. Connect with your inner-voice
There is no right or wrong in art, be yourself and let your soul speak.
Stop the judge, do not judge yourself, and do not judge others because they are different or because you don't share the same vision...
You are unique, do not copy, be true, imagine, create, sing, be free!
Find what inspires you,
what makes your eyes shine,
in which situation you feel the most yourself,
with whom, by doing what,
feed that part of you, trust yourself, be yourself!
You might also want to read: CONTROL AND FREEDOM
IV. BUILDING A STRONG TECHNIQUE
There is no access to freedom in your playing if your movements are not free.
Your posture is the first step to practice, knowing how you want to phrase and having a musical idea of the piece is the second, practicing to let your inner voice sing is the third...
Slow, slow, slow, print the right commands in your brain, do not over play. Playing/corrrecting playing/correcting over and over doesn't help, you will lose attention and make your muscles tired.
Analyse, find every spot you need to focus on, understand what is the movement and posture problem, fix it, understand how to move from one position to the other, etc.
My favorite technique book : Feuillard daily exercises
I used to start my practice with 1,5 hour of daily exercises, the book is always on my music stand and all the cellist who come to work with me are on the same diet.
My favorites numbers: Nº 2 to Nº 9 - Nº 15 & 16 - Nº28 & 29 -Nº33 and last (but not least) Nº35 starting down bow or/and up bow.
Of course, scales and arpeggios should also be part of the diet!
Piatti, Duport, Dotzauer, Popper, Grutzmacher, Sevcik, Cossman etc. are wonderful companions to improve your technique but only once your posture is ready. Do not go into challenging repertoire if the arches of your hand are not strong enough or if your shoulder-blades are winged, you might hurt your tendons and muscles.
V. THE BACH CELLO SUITES!
BACH IS OUR BUDDHA
Don't be scared of playing Bach!
Experiment, get out of your comfort zone.
The more you play Bach, the more you get to know yourself and your cello.
VI. IT IS A JOURNEY, ENJOY THE RIDE!
- For example: open strings
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